When Will I Have to Appear in Court?
Is it Necessary to Appear in Court for a Divorce in Georgia?
Only after the attorney has had the opportunity to gather and analyze the information obtained in discovery, can he then intelligently advise you regarding those matters to which the parties could not previously reach a consensus. Furthermore, and again strictly from the standpoint of court time involved, in most counties, there will usually be at least two court hearings.
In contested cases, there will typically be at least two court appearances. Usually, the first hearing, for “temporary” relief only, will usually occur within 30 to 45 days from the date of the filing of the client’s petition for divorce. The primary purpose for this hearing is to maintain the status quo that existed between the parties at the time of the filing of the divorce petition. At this hearing, one of the parties:
- will be given temporary custody of the minor children, if any, and the other party will be granted visitation rights;
- may be required to pay temporary child support and/or alimony;
- may be awarded temporary and exclusive use and possession of the marital residence and furnishings;
- will be ordered to be maintain health and other type insurance pending trial; and
- may be granted other relief, depending on the special circumstances of your case.
Regardless of the “temporary” nature of this hearing, it is an extremely important step in the divorce proceedings, and great care and diligence should be utilized in properly preparing you for this day in court.
Later on, if the parties can not reach an agreement to all the issues, there will be a final hearing on the outstanding issues raised in the divorce petition. Many courts now require that the parties attend some sort of court-ordered mediation in an attempt to resolve their differences before trial. Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution where the parties and their attorneys work with a certified mediator to attempt to reach a settlement or “middle ground.” The mediator is an impartial, third person who does not have any prior knowledge of the facts and circumstances of the case. The mediator does not have any authority to decide issues, only to assist the parties in deciding any outstanding issues for themselves. In addition, there may be one or more interim hearings based upon various motions brought by the parties, as the circumstances of the case dictate; if the case is filed in Fulton County, there may be three or more status conferences as well.
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From offices in Atlanta, Kupferman & Golden, Attorneys at Law, advises and represents clients in communities throughout in metro-Atlanta, Georgia, including Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Cherokee County, Hall County, Douglas County, Clayton County, and Forsyth County, including the communities of Buckhead, Decatur, Marietta, Alpharetta, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Dunwoody, Johns Creek, Roswell, Smyrna, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven and Norcross, Georgia.